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Craig Medred

The bearly bearable summer of 2008 continued in Cooper Landing today with the shooting of a sow grizzly in a dumpster at the community's waste-transfer site.

The death of the sow brings to about a dozen the number of grizzlies killed or believed killed in and around the Kenai Peninsula community since May. And it comes only two weeks after a grizzly seriously mauled a 21-year-old employee of the Kenai Princess lodge as she walked on a wide gravel path near the popular tourist accommodation.

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Craig Medred

When Alaska endurance cyclist Peter Basinger rode past the mountain bike dumped in the bushes along a Far North Bicentennial Park trail early Sunday morning, the thought of a horrific bear attack never even crossed his mind. He remembers thinking only that someone must have paused to dart into the woods for a bathroom stop.

Then he came upon a person sitting in the middle of the Rover's Run trail.

"They just turned around and said, 'Bear,' " Basinger said Monday.

The person in the trail was 15-year-old Petra Davis. Basinger has known her almost forever. He coached her on skiing when she was in Anchorage Junior Nordic.

Now, he did not even recognize her. She had a face unidentifiable in a mask of blood in the 1:30 a.m. dimness...

Craig Medred

A frighteningly weak return of king salmon to the Deshka River has forced the closure of the Susitna Valley's most popular stream for monster salmon beginning Friday night, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

As of Wednesday, only 2,009 kings had been counted through a weir on the iron-colored stream west of Willow. Three or four times as many should have come back by now.

No one knows the reason for the run failure. Everything from flooding possibly washing eggs out of the river to growing catches of immature king salmon in Bering Sea pollock trawls to colder than normal ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska have been blamed...

Craig Medred

A block and a half off Delaney Park Strip, in the shadow of the glass towers that dominate the Anchorage skyline, biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game darted an adult male black bear Friday afternoon.Summer has arrived.

Cooler than average temperatures and fresh snow falling high in the mountains above the city may have left some people a little confused about the season, but the bears have figured it out.

North, south, east and west - all around town and even in it - there have been bear sightings this week, according to Fish and Game biologists Rick Sinnott, and Jessy Coltrane, Chugach State Park superintendent Tom Harrison and a bunch of residents...

Craig Medred

Zorro the sled dog was on the mend in Seattle on Monday and emotions were easing in Nome as the dust settled on a nasty accident near the weekend finish of the All Alaska Sweepstakes.

Two-time and defending Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion Lance Mackey from Fairbanks and his team were almost to the end of the $100,000 winner-take-all race won by Sterling's Mitch Seavey when a snowmachine roared out of the dark early Saturday, slammed into Mackey's sled and dragged the whole team down the trail before coming to a stop.

Mackey thought at first that all of his dogs, though bumped and bruised, had escaped serious injury. But Zorro, who was sleeping in the sled bag when the accident happened, turned out to have been injured more seriously than the musher realized...

Craig Medred

Sled-dog racing pundits said it couldn't be done: Winning both the brutal 1,000-mile Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race and the punishing 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in one year, and both in little more than a month.

Impossible.

And then a hardscrabble, cancer-beating musher from Fairbanks by the name of Lance Mackey did it.

But that was last year.

What could Mackey possibly do to top it this year?

How about an instant replay?

First the Quest in bone-numbing, flesh-freezing, 40-below-zero cold that left Mackey with frostbitten feet.

Then the Iditarod, with Mackey still hobbling on those frostbitten feet, in sled-dog-taxing warmth often near 40 degrees above zero, sometimes warmer...

Craig Medred

Defending champ Lance Mackey held a nearly one-hour lead as Iditarod dog teams prepared to leave White Mountain today for a final push to the finish line in Nome, but the race remained too close to call.

Four-time champion Jeff King from Denali Park, who has been been behind a consistently faster team through the race, was within striking distance. His dogs, however, will have to make the run of their lifetimes if he is to beat Mackey to the end of the trail sometime early Wednesday, probably around 4 a.m...

Craig Medred

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race leaders marched into their mandatory eight-hour pit stop at White Mountain this morning with defending champ Lance Mackey holding a surprising 57-minute lead.

Since the race hit the Bering Sea coast at the village of Unalakleet Sunday afternoon, the four-time winner of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the 2007 Iditarod victor has been haunted by four-time Iditarod champ Jeff King from Denali Park.

King has passed Mackey only once to lead the race to Unalakaleet and grab the prize for being first to the Bering Sea...

Craig Medred,Kevin Klott

A dog in the team of Iditarod musher Jennifer Freking from Finland, Minn., died Sunday evening after being hit by a snowmachine near the village of Nulato, according to the Iditarod Trail Committee and Freking's Web site.

Freking and her husband, Blake, a fellow Iditarod musher, arrived in Nulato on Monday about 4:25 a.m. and left at 5 p.m. They were in 56th and 57th places.

Reached by telephone, a checker in Nulato said Iditarod race offical Rudy Indemuhl would not allow the Frekings to speak to the press, but Iditarod director of public relations Chas St. George said Iditarod officials in Nulato told him the Frekings did not wish to discuss the incident...

Craig Medred

Update: Lance Mackey reached Kaltag at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, stayed all of seven minutes and headed out onto the trail for Unalakleet. Jeff King followed him into the Yukon River village about an hour behind, but stayed more than four hours until 3:44 a.m.before leaving for the Bering Sea coast. Not too far behind, Paul Gebhardt passed through Kaltag and was out at 5:50 a.m.

GALENA -- Along the snow-covered highway that is the frozen Yukon River, Jeff King -- four-time champion of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race -- and his team of hounds stalked Lance Mackey Saturday night...

Kevin Klott,Craig Medred

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